Legal Wills | What is a deceased’s estate?
In the next series of blogs, I’m going to be talking about legal Wills. Everyone should have one, but they don’t. Why? Because people don’t want to be pro-active; they typically want to take care of things when there’s a problem. Also, people think that when they write their Will, they’ve essentially signed their own death certificate (nothing could be further from the truth; death and taxes are certain, but for the most part no one really knows with certainty when they’re going to pass away). Finally, people think that they can simply write something down on a piece of paper near their final hours that will be their Will; the problem here is that it might not be valid or comprehensive enough or even followed if it’s not drafted properly to understand.
So, with these things said, the next few blogs are all going to educate you, my fellow Canadian, on all things involving legal Wills. So let’s get started with some important concepts, shall we? Yes, let’s start off with: The Estate.
What the heck is an Estate?
When we pass away, our assets form something called an “Estate”. And these assets (typically cash, real estate, personal belongings like jewelry, art, furniture, securities, vehicles, etc.) are used to pay off our debts, testamentary expenses and the leftovers distributed to our beneficiaries. Now, it’s important to keep in mind that NOT ALL of our assets go into our Estate. Certain assets – like jointly held property, proceeds from life insurance, property subject to division under family law, property subject to an equitable claim, gifts of property that are conditional on death, or a refund of premiums contributed to an RRSP, RRIF or pension plan, etc. – do not fall within our estate. In other words, these types of assets can be transferred outside of our estate. Why is this good / bad? Think of it like this: there are tax, debt, and ownership issues that come up when you’re dealing with assets that are transferred outside or inside your estate.
If assets form part of your estate, then they can be sold to pay off your creditors. If assets do not form part of your estate, then they may go straight to your beneficiaries or some other person pursuant to some other mechanism (e.g. family laws, jointly ownership, etc.). Assets that do not form part of your estate cannot be used to pay off your liabilities, taxes, or testamentary expenses.
You with me so far? Good. In the next blog, I’ll talk about what a Will is and why it’s 100% absolutely necessary for you to have one.
And if you don’t have an up-to-date and comprehensive legal Will, you can get one now by using our proprietary Will-O-Matic Wizard:
Just CLICK “Get Started” button now…
The Will-O-Matic is a very dynamic, comprehensive, and flexible online program that shows you how to write a Will. It has been featured in countless media spots (including the Globe and Mail, CTV News, National Post, and more). Over 20,000 people bought the Will-O-Matic since it was released in 2012. The Will-O-Matic is available for the following provinces:
- British Columbia
- New Brunswick
- Nova Scotia
The first version of the Will-O-Matic was well-beyond anything else out there. And I noticed that some competitors were trying to copy us. That’s a great compliment. But they don’t have what we have. It took countless time, money and effort to make the Will-O-Matic what it is today. And here’s where we stand:
- The Will-O-Matic is based on provincial Wills laws. I haven’t seen anyone else go to that length. They tell you their product is good for “Canada”, but it’s not. They don’t use the right language. So why risk using their product.
- The Will-O-Matic is more comprehensive than anything else out there.
- I (a Canadian lawyer) created the Will-O-Matic.
- The Will-O-Matic allows you to edit for free for the first year; other products give you a one-shot type of deal (but you can always pay more to edit).
- The Will-O-Matic comes with comprehensive signing instructions to help you make sure you don’t enter the Will incorrectly and thereby render it invalid.
- The Will-O-Matic comes with a comprehensive and regularly updated eBook (for Ontario, it’s over 70 pages long!) about Wills in your Province. This just goes to show the level we go to when it comes to putting a high quality product on the market.
- The Will-O-Matic includes a personal information, assets and liabilities checklist to help you get organized.
- The Will-O-Matic is regularly updated (particularly when laws change).
So there you have it. A fantastic product that’s only getting better. So if you’re shopping around for online Will products – just remember about the above. We truly are the leader in online Wills in Canada.
How to Make a Will
So, if you’re looking to write your own Will, you can do so using the Will-O-Matic Wizard. This Wizard takes you through an online questionnaire. There’s loads of questions, tips, options, and guidance along the way. At the end of the process, you’re able to download your own .pdf Will.
A Will is simply a declaration of your wishes concerning your property and assets when you die. You can do things like appoint a representative of your estate, appoint someone to be responsible for your minor children, and explain how you want your assets to be divided when you pass (i.e. not according to government rules, but according to your own wishes).
Once you’ve make the Will using the Will-O-Matic Wizard, you must sign it properly in the presence of appropriate witnesses. Then, we suggest you keep the Will in a safe place and give your Estate Trustee access to know it and let him or her know where it is.